Mark Griep (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA)
After receiving $1.6M to renovate four rooms for use by students taking the General Chemistry 1 laboratory, a team from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Chemistry Department, UNL Facilities Department, and architects from HDR Inc designed a space to enhance student learning. Island benches allow students to work on their experiment and talk to their partner simultaneously. Islands allow the TA easy access to all students. Cable connections allow students to communicate their Vernier-collected data on six television screens around the perimeter. Each week’s apparatus is kept in locked cabinets along the perimeter that the staff place on the islands at the beginning of the week and remove at the end of the week. This model allows faculty to change experiments more readily and allows for denser scheduling of labs per week. There is a TA station with flex cam and computer that allows them to communicate the safety and procedural features on the televisions. Paired rooms with transparent hoods between them are a safety feature that allow monitoring of all students by TAs in both rooms. At the same time, we launched a new set of exercises that begin with proficiency and end with inquiry, and we launched a plan to assess the impact the space has on student attitude and critical thinking skills.